Nun officiates at a Catholic marriage

A nun has officiated at a Catholic marriage at a church at Lorrainville, 650 km west of Montreal in Canada.

Sister Pierrette Thiffault’s authority to celebrate the marriage came from Rome after the Congregation of Divine Worship and for the Discipline of Sacraments agreed she would be suitable to carry out this ministry.

In a Catholic marriage ceremony, the minister celebrating the sacrament is not the priest. The ministers preforming the wedding are in fact the bride and groom themselves

According to Canon Law (Canon 1112) “Where there is a lack of priests and deacons, the diocesan bishop can delegate lay persons to assist at marriages, with the previous favourable vote of the conference of bishops and after he has obtained the permission of the Holy See”.

It goes on to say that “A suitable lay person is to be selected, who is capable of giving instruction to those preparing to be married and able to perform the matrimonial liturgy properly.”

In the Code of Canon Law, the word “lay” has no gender connotation. This means “every time Canon Law attributes something to a layperson, it applies to both men and women”.

It goes on to explain that “Within the matrimonial liturgy, the priest’s duty is that of being a qualified witness. For this reason, the canonical rules provide, exceptionally and in cases of proven need, the possibility of a layperson to preside over the liturgy, after obtaining permission from the Holy See.”.

Pierrette is a pastoral worker in the parish of Moffett, which neighbors Lorrainville, where the wedding took place on 22 July.


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